Country music star Reba McEntire has been named spokesperson for the annual "Kids' Night on Broadway" program sponsored by the League of American Theatres and Producers and the Theatre Development Fund.
In a prepared statement, Broadway newcomer McEntire—who stars in Irving Berlin's Annie Get Your Gun opposite Brent Barrett (Chicago) beginning Jan. 26—said, "I know that many of the children who attend the wonderful shows participating in 'Kids' Night on Broadway' all across the country will be the ones who'll be stepping out on Broadway stages five or ten or twenty years from now."
Ticket sales for the "Fifth Annual Kids' Night On Broadway" resumed Jan. 5. The were suspended during the holiday season.
The original Oct. 26 kick-off event for tickets featured the "Broadway Karaoke Contest for Kids." That televised special was hosted by MTV's "Say What? Karaoke" host Dave Holmes. As reported, the "Broadway Karaoke Contest for Kids" winner will perform at "the pre-theatre party during the first night of "Kids' Night on Broadway" on Jan. 30."
Conceived by the Theatre Development Fund (TDF) and the League of American Theatres and Producers in 1996, "Kids' Night on Broadway" has helped introduce some 150,000 young people (ages 6-18) to the "magic of live theatre" by making it "accessible to a new generation of theatregoers." The program makes one free child's ticket available with every full-price adult ticket to participating Broadway shows in 20 major national markets. Participating shows for the program include Annie Get Your Gun, Barrio Babies, Chicago, Jane Eyre, Jitney, Kiss Me, Kate, Les Miserables, Rent, Riverdance on Broadway, Saturday Night Fever, Stomp, Seussical, Swing, The Dinner Party, The Music Man, The Phantom of the Opera, The Rocky Horror Show and the Rhythm Club. Numerous New York City restaurants also participate in the program. [Visit www.kidsnightonbroadway.com for a complete listing.]
Various other programs and competitions connected with "Kids' Night" have been successful in attracting younger audiences to Broadway. On Jan. 30, 3-6 PM, the free "Kids Broadway Blast" at the Hammerstein Ballroom (311 W. 34 St.) will provide an opportunity for kids to experience backstage magic, including such activities as "dance lessons, stage face painting, make up design, and trying on costumes from Broadway shows." The "Kids Broadway Blast precedes the Jan. 30 'Kids' Night' performances.
The special evenings of theatre for young people feature 7 PM curtains and restaurant discounts.
For further information visit www.kidsnightonbroadway.com. Interested parties may call the Broadway Line (888) BROADWAY or (212) 302-4111 as well.
—By Murdoch McBride